2023 Most Endangered Historic Places in Illinois: PRESS RELEASE

Media Contact:

Kaitlyn McAvoy
Director of Communications
Landmarks Illinois


May 4, 2023

Landmarks Illinois Announces 2023 Most Endangered Historic Places in Illinois

CHICAGO – Landmarks Illinois has announced its 2023 Most Endangered Historic Places in Illinois, calling attention to nine culturally and architecturally significant sites across the state that face growing threats of disinvestment and demolition.

“Our 2023 Most Endangered sites show willful disregard for the proven environmental, social and economic benefits of reusing historic buildings,” said Bonnie McDonald, President & CEO of Landmarks Illinois. “At a time when Americans are calling for action to solve society’s pressing challenges, like climate change, inequality and housing affordability, there should be no passes for shortsightedness or neglect. We will continue to work with local residents and elected officials, as well as building and preservation professionals, to develop solutions for the reuse of these threatened places.”

2023 Most Endangered sites

The 2023 Most Endangered sites are located in the following counties: Alexander, Coles, Cook, DuPage, Kane, Lake, McHenry and St. Clair. Visit our website at www.Landmarks.org to learn more about each site. A digital press packet, which includes local contacts for each endangered property, is also available at our website.

Brooklyn, Illinois – St. Clair County

Brooklyn, Illinois, is the oldest – and one of the last remaining – majority-Black incorporated towns in the country. It is threatened by a declining population, high unemployment rate and limited economy. The village has sold parcels of land to railroad companies, contributing to the ongoing disinvestment in this historically significant town located on the Mississippi River.

Affordable Housing – Cairo, Alexander County

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development plans to tear down the Connell F. Smith Sr. Building, making it the fifth public housing complex in Cairo closed in recent years by the federal agency.  The move will displace 60 residents in Illinois’ southernmost city and eliminate an opportunity to reuse the 1968 building in a community that is already experiencing a severe housing shortage.

Old Lawes Hotel – Charleston, Coles County

The former hotel, originally built in 1874 as a family home, is located prominently next to Charleston’s historic courthouse square. The hotel has suffered damage from deferred maintenance during its more than 30 years sitting vacant and unused. Preservation efforts must begin soon or the building may become a public safety hazard and face demolition by neglect.

Century & Consumers Buildings – Chicago, Cook County

These two vacant, but architecturally significant terra cotta-clad skyscrapers are located on State Street within the National Register-listed Loop Retail Historic District. Despite their prominent location and potential for reuse, the U.S. General Services Administration continues to consider demolishing them.

Damen Silos – Chicago, Cook County

Owner MAT Asphalt is proposing to demolish the iconic 1906 former grain silos in McKinley Park to potentially build new office and trucking facilities. Local residents oppose the plans, which would rob Chicago of an important piece of its industrial history and prevent a more environmentally friendly and equitable redevelopment of this highly visible site along the Chicago River.

Baxter International Headquarters –Deerfield, Lake County

The Midcentury Modern former healthcare company campus was designed by Skidmore, Owings & Merrill and built in 1972. The contract purchaser, Bridge Industrial, plans to demolish the existing buildings and replace them with warehouse logistics facilities.

Alexander Brothers Blacksmith Shop

At nearly 180-years-old, the locally landmarked limestone structure is one of the oldest-surviving commercial buildings in Geneva and represents an important part of the city’s industrial past. Following an unsuccessful demolition attempt in 2018, the structure’s owner, the Shodeen Family Foundation, is once again trying to tear it down.

Oak Cottage – Naperville, unincorporated DuPage County

The cottage, built circa 1850 as a family home for early settler William Briggs Greene, is an important piece of local agricultural history. The Forest Preserve District of DuPage County, which owns the property, is evaluating demolishing the cottage for open space if a third party does not propose a viable reuse for it.

Richmond’s Historic Wooden Bridge – Richmond, McHenry County

Built in the mid-1800s, this city-owned landmark is the last of two wooden bridges constructed in Richmond’s early settlement years. However, a lack of maintenance and no plan for its preservation mean that the bridge faces possible demolition by neglect.

About the Most Endangered Program

The annual Most Endangered Historic Places in Illinois is Landmarks Illinois’ largest and longest-running advocacy program. Launched in 1995, the annual list aims to boost advocacy efforts and build support for each property’s eventual preservation. Learn more about our Most Endangered Historic Places in Illinois and see previous Most Endangered lists at our website.

About Landmarks Illinois

We are People Saving Places for People. Landmarks Illinois is a membership-based, historic preservation nonprofit organization serving the people of Illinois. We inspire and empower stakeholders to save places that matter to them by providing free guidance, practical and financial resources and access to strategic partnerships. For more information, visit www.Landmarks.org.


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